Saturday, February 26, 2011

Big Game on Sawtooth

This week has swiftly ran by like rushing waters of a white raging river, standing still, mezmorized by the quickness and speed of time. For the most part, I've been tending to minor things on the ranch, such as preping the ground for a garden, re-outfitting (still) the pipe house, and cleaning/clearing brush and so on. It's all a slow moving process out here on a ranch, best not to get too anxcious about things because a single man really has no power to slow or speed up the river.

Yesterday, Andy and I went out on an all day ordeal, to the West End, to help the ranch's game guide and his hunter find some bighorn sheep (aoudad) on a mountain called Sawtooth. They call it that because it consists of a long flowing peak of sharp, rocky terrain that looks much like a sawing tooth of an animal, such as that of a dog. These sheep like to stay in the rocky elevation and lookout over the land, grazing on grasses, berries, yuccas, and so on. As it goes, the guide was having trouble locating anything during the first two days of the three day hunt and moral seemed to be that of a potential failed campaign.
On the third day, Andy and I headed out and met them at the Jones and set out for Sawtooth. The first couple of hours we had no luck "glassing" the backside of the mountain in search of these animals. The term "glassing" refers to using binoculars to search the mountains for animals, game and so on. Finally, Andy expressed, "This mountain cannot be hunted from the road, it's too rugged and coarse. We'll never find them from here," he said.

With that, he and I packed up a bit of gear and began ascending the mountain. Within a half mile of my hike, taking point, I stirred a herd of about 14 sheep up from their sleeping position on the edge of a knob, but quickly they were up and over, out of sight. Andy was about a quarter mile behind me and within the next hour he spotted two of the large, male sheep on a peak across from us, a very long 650 - 750 yards away, mearly specs of dust on a mountain side.
Over the course of the rest of the afternoon we watched the two animals work their way closer toward us while the guide got his hunter into a good position. Finally, in the late of the afternoon, the hunter fired a single shot at a range of about 400 yards and brought down one of the beasts. It was a good, clean, patient shot. We made our way to the animal, dressed him out, and took him off the mountain. In the end, I guess we saved this guy's hunt, and up'd the adventure greatly, as at this point we were another 1500 ft above sea level and a good mile or two from the road in hard rugged country. He enjoyed a great hunt, and so did we. At best, the experience offered up a possible way to make money with cameras and video making equipment, personal game hunting memorabilia? We shall see what the future holds, big river.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Weekend at La Junta

This past weekend of February 20th, 2011, I ventured off the Slaughter Ranch here in Brewster County, Texas, over the mountains and through the parks into the basin, back to Redford and on to Presidio to meet those who were gathering to establish an organization known as La Junta Heritage Center. The La Junta group had planned to gather on the 17th - the 20th to clean up and plan out the next move for the organization's eventual establishment. The La Junta project was the vision of a late rural, cowboy artist, A. Kelly Pruitt. He had visualized a place where art and agriculture come together to preserve and teach the rural, agricultural artist heritage he was a part of, a vision I share in greatly. It was an uplifting and exciting weekend. I was delighted to meet with most of the board members andenergetic volunteers including Mr. Bishop, whom awarded the organization a 99 year lease on the 72 acres to erect the foundry. I believe in what these folks are doing and also understand from experience that there is no stronger bond in cultivating a lasting human experience, than coupling art and agriculture. Both require and instill great amounts of patience and hardwork, not to mention a deep understanding of where we all come from. I wish this organization the best and look forward to future participation. Follow the title link to the La Junta website.
Meanwhile, back in Redford, the Gallino Brother (GZupp) was packing his gear to finalize his studio stay for the second time in Big Bend. I joined him Sunday evening in Marathon to have a look at his plot of land, site of the newer, better, bigger West Texas Gallino and had a few beers with him and photographer James H. Evans at the Famous Burro. "Thanks for supper, James." I'm looking forward to all the future shenanigans we will hopefully, productively, get into. Spending time with those mad scientist creative types is sure worth a few bushels of joy and laughs. Until then, I'm back at the Slaughter for now, doing what I tend to do.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Sunday, February 13th, 2011. In two days I will have been back on this West Texas ranch, helping out, for two full weeks. Things have been busy, organizing, setting things to function properly and efficiently, finding a place for everything. I've been entertaining the idea of starting up another blog for the sole purpose of documenting the happenings and functions of this ranch; but, at this point, I would need permission AND I'm not entirely sure what kind of terms I'm being offered or how long the need for my stay out here will last. No real surety. Things just don't seem to work out here like they do in other places, it's sorely confusing and a
little tormenting.
Several objectives are in the works. Around the headquarters the effort has mostly been to organize and set a function to what have been useless buildings. This one I've been working on is set to become a pipe fitting room, or a building specifically for serving the supplies, construction, and maintenance of the ranch's water supply. This last freeze caused problems throughout the ranch, busted valves, broken floats, frozen water lines.

On the other end, it has been feeding livestock and tending to issues surrounding the game hunting. Andy and I have been setting up a water supply high in the bluffs to serve the deer and aoudad sheep that are here and I've road along to help him set a few traps to catch the mountain lion problems of local ranches. All in all there's a lot to do, this stuff takes some time. I'm hoping things will secure up for me here, under conditions that can be agreed upon and settled. I believe I could do some good for this ranch and at the same time get on with the bigger objectives of my own art making. The latter rides upon the former. I think I'm even losing friendships and family relations because my quest for seeing a vision through is so important. Alas, it is larger than I am, and must be done at all costs.
God help us all, but sometimes, most, I feel just like my Texas State alumnus here, tangled up in the traps of the world... see you soon.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What keeps you up at night?

The space was low lite, dark like the first light of a morning or the absolute last light of day when everything falls to shadows of shadows, movements of dark and light. I find myself fuddling around with various glasses, cleaning, arranging a till. A man comes and askes for a beer, strangely it seems as though I know the person, a past friend maybe, a little more light now. More people begin to arrive. They sit down and begin conversation with each other. I look up from my familiarizations with an unknown bar, always keeping the hands busy. More guests arrive, and more there still are those I've not yet greeted. By this time I've realized where I am, there's enough light brought with each new guest that I understand what I'm doing. I set pace to attend to each one of them. At first it seems as though the first groups are family, deep friends, happy to just see me again. The man who was at the bar I served only one beer but he spoke as though he knew me, and he left an extra twenty dollars for my troubles.
On to the third, these I do not know. I greet, ask of needs, offer my service. At first it seems they are inquisitive to the offerings,asking certain questions regarding certain items; but soon inquiry turns into explaination, explaination into definition, meanwhile more guests begin to arrive, but this table lingers on in a dead humor sort of way. Their questions are not serious, they seem to know the menu better than I, the wife cracks smile at husband. Are they asking simply for company of conversation, perhaps they've been marooned here, lonely, left for an eternal stay long before the lights ever came on. Perhaps they ask intentionally to delay my response to those guests not yet attended, they smirk at one another. The idea of watching me squirm; they have some x-rated delight in the disruption of the single task manager. I realize they have drinks already, there is no real need here. As I turn to attend those who are without, the couple asks for more to drink.
Low light again. My eyes crack open to the electric heater in the middle of the room. It's three o'clock on a Sunday morning, February 6th, 2011. I'm in the guest bedroom on a ranch in West Texas, wondering how I got here. What events transpired to lead way out to this place? What sort of misdirection has befallen me? I have a good idea. My gut rolls in bed. I stare into that low darkness. I see every picture that has been on my mind as of late and every picture I've been attempting to render. Are these pictures off my intended task? My heart answers the question before it is even through. Somehow, there is some hard-truth similarities to the dream, albeit, a server's nightmare just had in the darkness concerning my last two years as an artist. Some spirit hovering over the deep, arcing past lives with current in subconcious slumber in order to correct the direction of a path. Switch the lights on. A swift river of realization runs through my blood and happiness in the truth of the coming reflection....

The Thoughts and Times of

The Video Bar